Coffee or tea?

Let us love them both, as Baudelaire said of Delacroix and Ingres. Coffee and tea are different beverages in kind, and our modern mental habit of mooshing them under the banner of Caffeine, is like all our other pharmaceutical excesses. Coffee will admit cream and honey, or so the girly boys (like me) insist. It is, I say, really a bitter dessert, analogous to chocolate (which real men of the Aztec age never thought to sweeten).

Whereas, tea in its splendour is sipped with an attitude less buzzcut Merican than anciently Sinitic. The only exception I can countenance is when the tea is brewed in the Punjabi or Bengali manner, very strong with hot skim milk, cardamom and other southern Oriental spices, and even cane sugar may be dumped in (if you are girly). To apply the term chai, to this, is criminally misleading, for chai means “tea,” almost everywhere. It is “spiced tea,” and only thus described can bear any relation to the fecund choco-coffee-chicory family, to which I will happily consign bubble and matcha.

Now, coffee is a bean, roasted and crushed; quickly mulled, not infused. Tea is rather an angelic leaf. What sinks in the cup should resemble autumn.

Some kindly soul has provided me, as a curiosity, a “black-face” tea grown in the Portuguese Azores — “the only tea plantation in Europe” they claim. It reminds me of my beloved Keemun, from the west of China, just over a few mountain folds from Darjeeling — a tea whose perfume is innate and sublime, not crass and wickedly exaggerated.

I am a tolerant as well as adventurous person, and am actually enjoying this tea as I write. God bless Portugal; God bless the Chá Preto dos Açores.


My Chief Texas Correspondent, who shows an unhealthy interest in Canadian politics, wrote this morning to say I would like the result of our election because, with a hung Parliament, “progress” would be slow. He, and his Fellow Mericans, have been underestimating the ingenuity of the Westminster system, these last three centuries. It took more centuries for lowlife, such as Blair and Cameron, to come along and spanner its essentials in Britain itself — to the degree of the current Brexit mess, in which all the traditionally impartial offices (with the possible exception of the Monarchy) have been politicized into stupefaction.

The wise have always left Constitutions alone; or at least tried not to molest them. They should be avoided like the polar bears, up here, which since the intervention of “well-intended” environmentalcases, have increased in number six times. There is an allegory to be written on this.

But we were discussing the politics in Canucktituck, were we not? In my characteristic tone (to my CTC) I replied:

“Little Trudy will need votes of the NDPee (which also lost seats) to pass anything; but they promised in advance to service him, so long as he lurched to the Left. …

“A Canucktituckian observation. Saskatchewan is now Alberta: every seat Tory, even in Regina. Also sprach Manitoba, outside auld commie Winnipeg, and Bee Cee, except Funcouver and up the Left Coast. The Gliberals, as ever, swept Toto, Tottawa, Montreal Island, and all the pogey-imbibing districts of Newfishland and the Maritimes. …

“Note that the Tories retain a near monopoly on all the parts of Canucktituck that produce food. …

“The Gliberals, by contrast, control all the parts that produce hype. …

“Our hype-r-sonic Meejah are beside themselves with relief.”